During a school field trip, Steven discovers some gruesome relics from a seventeenth-century shipwreck and massacre--including the diary of a convicted murderer--and soon becomes obsessed with the past.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Grade 9-12-- A bizarre, mystical, and very Australian novel. On a school field trip to the outback, 16-year-old Steven Messenger discovers a 17th-century iron pot containing a leather-bound diary and a mummified human hand. These artifacts are turned over to the authorities, but an antique ring from the hand becomes Steven's prized possession and results in out-of-body experiences and dabblings in aboriginal religion. Told through the reports of archaeologists, historians, newspaper accounts, Steven's personal writings, and the diary of Wouter Loos, a 17th-century murderer, the story both intrigues and confuses. For readers well versed in the area's history, geography, lore, and ethnicity, it may be compelling. However, the violence and mysticism create a strong, skewed, negative vision of Australian human relations both past and present. The main characters, historical Wouter Loos and contemporary Steven Messenger, echo racial misunderstandings and prejudice. Loos recounts in his diary the prevailing European stereotypes of "natives," while Messenger describes Aborigines as "all looking alike," dirty, and "drinking cheap wine." His comments and physical attack on an elderly Aborigine are disturbing, to say the least. Couple these sentiments and events with the effect that possessing the magical ring has on Messenger, and you have one complicated ball of wax. Strange Objects is a strange book that will most likely baffle American young adults. --Alice Casey Smith, Lakewood Public Library, NJ
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
A supernatural mystery of a high order--named Australia's ``Best Children's Book for Older Readers'' in 1991--looks into that country's sometimes brutal relations with its indigenous people, challenging readers to interpret the past anew. The hero (or antihero--interpreting Steven Messenger is one of the intriguing tasks Crew sets) stumbles upon sacred, perhaps magical objects belonging to local aborigines: an ancient human hand and a curious gold ring in an iron pot. To whom these really belong becomes a matter of national debate--and focus of a struggle between Steven and his conscience, and between him and a tribal leader. The book is skillfully framed as a collection of documents, alternating with Steven's experiences--police accounts, letters, news stories, historical records, psychological testimony, translations, commentaries--amassed by a researcher; most compelling is the 350-year-old journal of a survivor of the ill-fated ship Batavia, whose account eventually explains the source of the objects and whose strangely possessed companion is, in many ways, Steven's diabolical double. A demanding book that forces readers to judge the evidence (it would be fascinating to analyze with a high-school English class). Whether or not its lack of resolution is stimulating may be a personal matter--some will find the inconclusive ending more annoying than provocative. Still, for anyone who's interested in literature or history, there's much here to ponder. (Fiction. YA) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description Simon & Schuster, 1993. Library Binding. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P11067179759X
Book Description Simon & Schuster (Juv), 1993. Library Binding. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX067179759X